After lengthy trips to Dorset and Cornwall last week, I took the train back up to London on Thursday afternoon and caught the sleeper train from Euston in good time. I slipped into bed and fell fast asleep…. arriving at Arrochar station in the morning, still pitch dark, everything deep in frost. I drove home to a glorious awakening morning. Charlie had been at the bothy for a day or two. High pressure had moved over Scotland and the weather was extraordinary from the minute we arrived until the minute we left.
It still shocks us to think that this little house had planning approval to be knocked down and replaced by a giant bungalow. In fact, not only that, but that the planning CONDITION required it to be knocked down rather than repaired and made good. But all it really needed to get it weather tight was a new roof and new windows and a new door. And of course, we’re not building the bungalow.
The cottage is also looking good. Duncan our builder has been finishing off the window surrounds with their smart new white trim (work in progress, like a few things…!)
We went down to the water – frost on the seaweed. The air was cold but the sun was warm.
Geese (I think?- I need to reacquaint myself with bird watching after a 40 year pause, since I was about 6 or 7) flying overhead…
Ice left by the falling tide…
Sibyl ventures out:
And then we went to the village for lunch in the pub. It was such a perfect afternoon that we left the car and walked home. Quite a long way but worth it.
On the way home is the remains of an ancient fort… on a little hill, that doesn’t seem so high, until you climb it….
Views in every direction, commanding over the loch. There was not a breath in the air – the water was mirror flat… literally, astonishing.
That night there was a magic show in the village hall. Cynicism was soon dispelled as trick after trick astounded the audience, from age 5 to 85. We were all amazed.
And we rolled home and into bed, and woke the following morning to sunrise just coming up at about 9 o clock. The days are short…
but so beautiful…
On Saturday we pottered around and did a trip into town and I slept that afternoon, and read, and we watched a golden sun dip into the water.
The dogs going crazy on the hillside above the cottage.
The sky got richer and richer…. the water perfectly still.
That night, drinks at our neighbours which went into the wee hours, and left my head more than a llittle worse for wear, if I’m completely honest. But the sunshine was brilliant on Sunday morning. (The sharp eyed amongst you will notice that in the photograph above the tin bath is not outside the bothy. That’s because it’s our bath and it was in by the fire when I took the photo). It was Enid’s first birthday. Time for her official portrait…
And the sun was so warm and the air so completely still that we decided that there was nothing better than to have breakfast outside… on the 1st December. Bacon and eggs and toast and marmalade tasted incredibly good.
We did nothing that day… walks on the beach at low tide…
Where it looked as if Mavis had learnt to walk on water…
Looking back at the bothy and cottage…
The shed on the far right is, well, our shed… but the tiny one next door to it contains the compost loo. It works very, very well, I must be honest.
Later, we went for another walk, down the peninsula.
Enid with the Paps of Jura beyond.
Down at the old stone jetty…
I wonder if we will ever see the sea so flat again in our lives…?
Mavis in for a dip, as always…
And home, to another incredible sunset.
Here’s Charlie’s raised beds, slowly under construction…. being inspected.
And then drinks with our other neighbours, over across the water, and we got home in the pitch dark, and had supper, and early to bed. This morning, we were up early; I was back to Glasgow, where I hopped on the train down to London, all working well, and Charlie and the dogs drove down to Dorset in record time.
Scotland literally feels like an other worldly experience, on days like these. So far away, so many new discoveries, evenings with our fantastic new neighbours, and hours and hours of complete and utter peace. Total rest. For two days, for the first time in a very long time, I didn’t open my laptop at all.
It’s hard to come away. But it’s very lovely to share as well, and I hope that looking, as I have just done again, at a few of these photographs, will bring to your evening or morning the astonishing sense of peace that the mirror-flat water and infinite horizons can offer.
Best sunsets ever over the Paps